Easy Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons feature a lot in North African cuisine, adding colour and zest to a range of dishes, from salads to fish and chicken. They can be a fiddle to make, however, needing to be packed in salt and taking up to four weeks to mature, by which time you’ve probably forgotten what you wanted them for in the first place.

But fear not, because below is a marvellously easy way of preserving them, which takes just half an hour to do, and you can start using them within a week.

From this...
From this...

You’ll need one tablespoon of salt per lemon, and an airtight container.

Take your lemons – I usually do four at a time – and score their peel eight times lengthways each. Place them in a saucepan, adding one tablespoon of salt per lemon, and cover with water. Put the lid on the pan and bring to the boil, then let the lemons boil for 25 minutes until soft. Leave to cool, then scoop out all the pith and juice – you only want to keep the peel. Put them in an airtight container and cover with sunflower or light vegetable oil. It's as easy as that! Leave them for four days before using. Once you’ve opened the jar, keep them in the fridge and they’ll last for months.

...to this.
...to this.

If you’re lucky enough to have a lemon tree, jars of preserved lemons make fabulous gifts – far more appreciated than a box of chocs at a dinner party!

With thanks to Claudia Roden, for her fabulous Tamarind & Saffron cookbook, from which I pinched this recipe.

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Comments 5 comments

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 6 years ago

So these are preserved lemon skins, and not the fruit itself?

Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 6 years ago from South of France Author

Hi Sandy,

Yes, effectively, it's just the peel you keep, and fortunately a little goes a long way!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

This is amazing - and something I am not familiar here in New York City. I love how world cuisines do not waste food. Everything is beneficial.

Great hub! Thanks a million!

lifelovemystery profile image

lifelovemystery 4 years ago from Houston, TX

I can only imagine how wonderful the kitchen must smell while these are boiling!

Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France Author

Hi lifelovemystery, thanks for your comment, and you're right, it does smell wonderful!

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